1007 West Adams Street


  • On September 27, 1893, both the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Herald reported the sale of Lots 1-7 of Block 1 of Charles M. Wells's subdivision of the Hoover Tract to rancher, land developer and Bixby family associate William Woolworth Howard; either Howard built a house on the site immediately, or, given that there appears to be the possibility of one already standing on the property, he began to make additions
  • W. W. Howard lived at 1007 West Adams with his son, John Roy Howard, born in 1878; Mrs. Howard had died in 1880. While Howard's early reputation appears to have been a good one, by 1903 his life had become the "story of high living, unpaid debts, a ruined home, a divorce, a marriage, [and] another divorce...." A big article in the Los Angeles Times of October 9, 1903, went on to describe Howard as "a man with expensive tastes and a penchant for getting into trouble with his creditors, of whom there are understood to be $15,000 or $20,000 worth in this city and elsewhere." It seems that sometime during the prior seven or so years, he had taken up with Mrs. George H. Hartwell, the wife of a rising executive at the Boston Dry Goods Store, predecessor of the J. W. Robinson emporium. The Hartwells lived nearby; Emma Hartwell wished to be on the stage and claimed that Howard offered to finance her dream. Generous in the ensuing divorce settlement, George Hartwell seems not to have minded having Howard take his wife off his hands. Howard and Emma were married on April 1, 1897; the second Mrs. Howard left 1007 West Adams Street seven weeks later. While reportage varied as to whether the second Mrs. Howard was a gold digger or whether her groom a was a scoundrel, it was the groom who filed for divorce in July. Despite countercharges—which made public the information that W. W. had attempted suicide some years before due to ill health—there was a reconciliation. Despite Howard's being noted as a married man (and a "rancher") on the Federal census enumerated on June 11, 1900, and that the only other occupant of 1007 was John Roy, Emma remained, for the time being, in the picture
  • W. W. Howard's debts prompted him to try raising fox terriers for profit; he appears to have raised some champions, but after a suspected outbreak of rabies in his kennel in February 1898, he chloroformed all of the dogs. He next tried poultry. Then, in June 1902, oranges. That month, he appears to have exchanged 1007 West Adams, prime property dotted with shade trees and palms at a very prominent intersection, for a small citrus ranch in Alhambra owned by mining man George W. Bayly. The Howards moved there. Dogs, poultry, and fruit did nothing to stave off mounting debt, nor did the acquisition of a racehorse that was to be yet another fiasco. Emma, being only slightly less crazy than her husband, filed for another divorce, which was granted in November 1902. (W. W. Howard finally declared bankruptcy on June 27, 1906; he married again in 1913; he died in Redondo Beach at age 75 on August 8, 1921)
  • George W. Bayly was the younger brother of William Bayly, who had built 10 Chester Place in 1899 and would later build 2025 West Adams Boulevard. His occupancy of the Howard house would be brief; on May 17, 1903, the Herald reported that William G. Kerckhoff, the lumber and utilities magnate, had acquired the property from Bayly, who then bought property on West 28th Street to build a new house
  • The Herald had reported on May 17, 1903, that William G. Kerckhoff intended to build on the Howard/Bayly parcel; his plans then changed, but, it appears, only after arranging for the removal of the house at 1007 West Adams. For reasons that are unclear, but likely having to do with his realizing that traffic would only increase at Adams and Hoover, he transferred his building plans to the largest plot fronting a quieter segment of Adams, just across from Chester Place between Figueroa and Hoover streets. In 1906, on 1.5 acres, Kerckhoff built the house designed by Sumner Hunt and Wesley Eager that still stands at 734 West Adams Boulevard
  • Kerckhoff, or a subsequent owner, appears to have separated Lots 6 and 7, which contained the water tank and barn and which retained the 1007 address, from the original Howard parcel. The house was acquired by St. John's Episcopal Church, the sanctuary of which was on the south side of Adams 138 feet east of Figueroa; after the Department of Buildings issued a permit on August 1, 1905, the house was moved to a parcel comprised of Lot 1 and the northerly 51 feet of Lot 2 of Block A of the Treat Tract, hard by the southeast corner of Adams and Figueroa. On its new site, the house was converted into the parish hall of St. John's
  • Since its opening 15 years earlier, St. John's Church had been enlarged and reconfigured every few years to accommodate the dramatic development of the neighborhood; the parish hall occupying the former Howard house would last on the corner just five years before being replaced with a larger building. The Howard house was lucky yet again; rather than being demolished, it was purchased by Lucia P. Cuyas—French-born, she had arrived in Los Angeles in 1860 at the age of 10—and moved to Lot 12, Block F, of the West Los Angeles Tract, which the University of Southern California has grown to cover entirely today. Its second relocation permit was issued by the Department of Buildings on July 18, 1910. What had been 1107 West Adams Street and then 2606 South Figueroa Street was 3672 Wesley Avenue in its third location. With various annexations causing many street renamings and address renumberings across Los Angeles during this period, the house would receive a fourth designation: 3672 Wesley Avenue would now be 3672 University Avenue 
  • What was originally the William W. Howard house would last 17 more years before a demolition permit was issued by the Department of Building and Safety on October 20, 1927. A building permit for U.S.C.'s Bridge Hall, its replacement at the northeast corner of University Place and West 37th Street—today the northeast corner of Trousdale Parkway and Bloom Walk—was issued four days later. Bridge Hall, designed by John and Donald Parkinson, now houses the undergraduate programs of the U.S.C. Marshall School of Business
  • In September 1935, the Union Oil Company opened a filling station on the Adams/Hoover corner of the Howard parcel; designated 1015 West Adams Boulevard, the station office lasted until December 1961. A second gas station opened on the corner in 1965 and lasted 20 years. Today, the Howard property is part of the city's Hoover Recreation Center
  • In the illustration above, note the building indicated as the Fröbel Institute at upper left: Christened the Casa de Rosas even before it was completed, it was the project of Mrs. Caroline M. N. Alden, who was coming from Providence to open a school dedicated to the childhood-education principals of Friedrich Fröbel, who is credited with coining the word "kindergarten." Building permits for the Casa de Rosas, which still stands, were issued in June 1893. Its first classes were held that fall

Seen just as it was opening in September 1935, a Union Oil Company "76" station
remained on the southwest corner of the Howard property for the next 26 years. The
house at far right is 957 West Adams, owned by the Dockweiler family since 1906. The
streetcar tracks running along Hoover Street are those of the Los Angeles Railway's
U line. Below is the corner today, occupied by the city's Hoover Recreation Center.

Illustrations: Private Collection; LAPL; USCDL